Today I came across the following verse from the book of Galatians: “Galatians 6:9-10 - The Message 9-10 So let’s not allow ourselves to get fatigued doing good. At the right time we will harvest a good crop if we don’t give up, or quit. Right now, therefore, every time we get the chance, let us work for the benefit of all, starting with the people closest to us in the community of faith.”
The words, “Work for the benefit of all, starting with the people closest to us in the community of faith.”, really got me thinking. What resonated with me first was the word “community.” I have been thinking a lot about community recently and how it has changed with the times. Where is my community? What is my community and my community of faith? How can I be a support for my community? What does community mean around everything associated with the pandemic? Why is being a part of a community even important to me?
For our company, Intentional Energy 3(ie3) our mission statement is: Intentionally building effective communities through positive transformation. Our promotional tag line is Creating customized workshops, seminars and retreats designed to inspire, educate and connect participants. The intent around the words ‘connect participants’ refers to the ideas around building community. So, simply stated, community, in whatever form it takes, is important to Henrieta and I in the work that we do.
In the year 2020 our communities, and how we function within them changed. We are not gathering in large groups for worship, block parties, weddings or even funerals. We are connecting with coworkers and having business meetings using virtual formats and spending more of our time in front of our computer, phone, and tablets screens. Henrieta and I are not doing any in-person programs and have had to rethink how best to lead our workshops and experiment with different ways in which we can create community with our participants. Breakout rooms anybody??
I feel that as a humans were designed to be in community with others. When God created Adam, he ended up creating an updated version of Adam - I call him Adam 2.0 (less one rib but with a life partner). Basically - Adam in community. Each of us are born into a family community both close and extended, then we have our faith community, our neighborhood community, our work community. We also have the communities that we join to share our interests, passions and goals. This list is just a small part of what communities can be.
What about social media communities? Those we create on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, WhatsApp, TikTok, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera. I love seeing what is happening in the lives of friends and family that live near and far. Some of my social media friends are people whom I would have lost contact with if it were not for these community building platforms. Some of my social media friends are people that I would never have encountered in my local community. Just saying this-- I am friends with Bill and Melinda, Michelle and Barack, Nadia, Brene’ and Father Richard! (I am just a shameless namedropper!) I really enjoy seeing photos of my adult children’s activities and friends when they share them on the different apps. It helps me feel more a part of their lives, engaged in their communities. FYI, I am not a stalker, just maybe a bit of a voyeur!? What can I say, I love my kids and always want to an active part of their lives!
In the above verse, what resonated with me secondly was “every time we get the chance, let us work for the benefit of all’. Communities are not only a group to be a part of, they are a place that requires action. As the above verse states: “every time we get the chance, let us work for the benefit of all.” It does not say, just those who agree with us or those that blindly follow us. The verse has us including everyone in our communities, let us work for the benefit of all includes; mask wearers and non-mask wearers (make sure you are being smart and safe!!), people of all faiths and those with no faith, people in any political party and those that don’t affiliate with any party and just want to vote for the best person for the job, those who are gay or straight, and male or female or somewhere in between. Everybody means everybody. Here are some actions that we can use in our community; acceptance, an open mind, listening ears, a grateful heart, prayer, and most importantly using our time, talents and gifts to help and serve in whatever way we can.
In our last Blog Henrieta shared a letter from Father Richard Rohr, where he shares his ideas on how to get through the next four months. I am going to shamelessly use his words to end:
“I suggest that you use this time for some form of public service, volunteerism, mystical reading from the masters, prayer—or, preferably, all of the above.
You have much to gain now and nothing to lose. Nothing at all. And the world—with you as a stable center—has nothing to lose. And everything to gain.”